Archive for category DIY – Cleaning, Remedies, Household Usefulness

Do It Yourself – Fly Paper (Fail)

Last week I had a swarm of flies enter my home. I decided to finally do this quick DIY project I had seen by one of my favorite bloggers, One Good Thing by Jillee and another blogger Going Home to Roost.

What do you need? 
  • A paper grocery bag
  • Scissors
  • A single hole punch
  • Twine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water
What to do: Cut the grocery bag into strips. Punch a hole and string through some twine. (Or like me, I used a pen to punch a hole and used some very thick thread). On your stove in a pan add sugar, honey, and water. Put it onto low heat and let the sugar completely dissolve. Then add it to a shallow bowl and slide your strips through and let dry. 
 

This sound like a great idea! Super easy peasy. Unfortunately,the mixture never stopped dripping or dried. Plus the flies were not interested in it at all, as they were drying in the kitchen. After the third day of “drying” I called it quits and tossed them out.

I’m sure this works for lots of other people, but it didn’t do it for me. Back to the drawing board. Anyone have fun ideas to catch some flies inside the home?

 
 

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Do it yourself – Bug Repellents for the Home

I LOATHE bugs. I freak out about bugs. Bugs do not belong in my house. However it is inevitable that we get them.

What bugs do I have problems with? Ants, Earwigs, and Flies.

ANTS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar mix with distilled water. I have this spray as a universal spray. It’s just 1/4 cup acv and water w/ some lavender oil. It kills ants, gnats, and spiders. The caustic kills the pests, and it’s good for your hair! 
  • Citrus reigns king. Take a little sachet and fill it with some lavender, mint, eucalyptus, cinnamon sticks, clove, bay leaf and lem0n basil for ants in drawers, closets, and pantries.  This goes for a whole line of other pests too like Moths! Plus it all smells yummy. 
  • Ant Poison. (WARNING: Although this isn’t an extremely toxic remedy to humans or pets it can be irritating to the stomach. So, keep pets away from this and children) What do you need? Borax 20 mule blue team, sticky sweet yumminess, index card. Thanks to Kitchen Stewardship  for this gem. I use Syrup on an index card and sprinkled the borax on it and set it in the path of my ants. They eat it and take the “Poison” home. Our Ant problem in the master and guest bedroom has dropped dramatically. (Thanks Heavens)

FLIES

  • We have a horrible unnatural problem here with flies in Dela”Where”. It was never this bad in VA. So there is this HUGE cycle going on about how to build the cheap Mosquito trap from a 2-liter soda bottle. Well it’s not a new thing. The same general principle applies for flies too. Here is a nice blog post with illustrations on how to create said flies, mosquito and miscellaneous insect trap. (Even bugs attracted to LEDs) Thanks EcoBites.com and The Walden Effect for great visual guides. 
  • Sticky Wicky Fly paper. I have not tried this yet, but from the blog I read this from I am very confident it should work. This evening I will give it a try!  Check out this nice DIY post from Coming Home To Roost
  • Good Old Fashioned Fly SwatterThis is for the humor factor. Hand your fly swatter to your three year old and tell him to be the big smasher. He’s quite good!
  • CATS and Dogs. Do you think I’m kidding? My cats are brilliant fly catchers. It’s also very entertaining to watch! Someday I’ll get it on video. My Dog is a good fly eater too. (YUCK!)

EARWIGS

  • These guys aren’t horrible, but they are creepy. They are attracted to dark dank places. They help keep the slug population under control and birds help keep them under control. Bird Feeders around your garden. 
  • Shoe Box Trap. Poke decent size holes into a shoe box and add some oatmeal or bran to the bottom and set it out at night or in a dark place you have problems with. Check each morning and dump it out. Rolled up newspaper trap works too! 
  • Check weather stripping and seals around doors and windows. They come in from the outside, and they do not breed in doors. Making sure these things are done and sealed up helps. 
  • Cockroach Roach Traps. Add them to dark places and toss them when you have a few. 

The good thing is they don’t want your food they want plants and other bugs they eat. They come inside on accident, and they don’t hurt anything and disease isn’t a real issue with them. Best of all, again they do not breed in doors.

 

 

 

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Do it yourself – Wipes (*Multiple Kinds Including Sanitizer & Make-up*)

Do it yourself wipes! I love these things and I’m not spending a small fortune anymore on baby wipes. The simplicity to create this is fantastic AND versatility. You can make sanitizer wipes to make up wipes out of these recipes and baby wipes. I’m going to list them all right here!

They ALL need the basic ingredients number one being a storage container and number two bounty single roll paper towels.

The following list is from websites and blogs with recipes I have tried and I will also add my personal favorite recipe.

DIY – Baby & Personal Refresher Wipes

The Living Well Network

The Sensible Mom Blog

Saving Addiction

One Good Thing By Jillee

The winner? The Sensible Mom Blog (with tweaks)

What you need: 

– 1 container suitable to store 1/2 or a whole roll of paper towel (I use a Sterlite plastic box that’s often used for shoes. It fits two halves squished.)
– 1 single roll of Bounty paper towels
– 2 & 1/2 – 3 cups of warm water
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
-2 tablespoons of baby body wash
– Optional: Some essential or scented oils to your preference.

What to do: It’s pretty basic. First use a very sharp knife and cut your roll of paper towels in half. In a bowl add 2 cups of warm water, oil, body wash, and essential oil. Mix it up and pour it into your container then add your paper towels. Let it sit and absorb for about 5 minutes, then flip the towels over to the next side adding you 1/2 to 1 cup of extra water as needed to the bottom. At this point you can take out the center roll. It works much easier while wet. Begin the unravel from the center and store.

FAQ

Q: This mixture has a yellow tint to the towels is that supposed to be there? A: Yes; you used olive oil it happens.

Q: Do I have to use olive oil? A: No; you can substitute for mineral oil, Bert’s Bees body oil, almond oil, etc. Coconut oil I personally found it a little slicker and didn’t like it for cleaning my kiddos bum.

Q: Do I have to use baby body wash? A: No; you can use regular body wash or liquid castile soap or 1/2 teaspoon of grated castile soap bar (melted).

Q: What scents to you use in your wipes? A: I mix it up. The most typical is Lavender oil for Nathan and Citrus scents for personal wipes.

Q: Can you use other brands of paper towels besides Bounty. A: I have read that people have used just a very strong paper towel. I have no found a brand or off brand that I liked better than Bounty (plus I always find coupons for them!)

Q: I don’t have a container that will fit a 1/2 roll or whole roll. Any recommendations for a substitute? A: I’ve seen people use a Folgers plastic coffee canisters! The large on is perfect for a 1/2 roll. See it featured here.

DIY Sanitizer Wipes

The Living Well Network

One Good Thing By Jillee

Stacy Makes Cents

Home Jobs By Mom

Moms Confession

The Winner? One Good Thing By Jillee (with tweaks)

What you need:

-1 box for wipes (see blogs listed for examples including travel size)

-1/2 roll of Bounty paper towels or napkins

-1 & 1/2 cups of very warm water

– 1 tbs of coconut oil

-1 tablespoon of witch hazel (my tweak) OR 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol (her version)

-5 drops of lavender essential oil (my tweak) vs 3 drops of lavender oil

– 3 drops of lemon oil (or 2 drops tea tree oil)

What to do: Mix all the ingredients and then pour it into your container, set in your towels or napkins and let the it soak. Flip over the towels to soak the other side and use.

FAQ:

Q: Why do you choose witch hazel over rubbing alcohol? A: I find it less drying and it is still anti bacterial.

Q: I looked at other recipes and this one is very different from the majority. Why do you choose this? A: I chose Coconut Oil over Aloe because Coconut Oil is more moisturizer to my skin. Coconut oil also has a lot of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Match that up with the essential oils and witch hazel you’re good to go!

Q: What type of container do you use? A: I use Jillee’s travel kit idea AND a baby wipes container at home.

DIY Make-Up Remover Wipes

Passion For Savings

One Good Thing By Jillee

The Cox Quads

Marrie Dinmn

Mommy Needs Her Coffee

The Winner? Jillee wins this one again! Cox Quads was close second. The water ratio in Jillee’s I like better.

What you need:

-1/2 roll of Bounty paper towels

-1 Air tight container

-4 cups of warm water

-1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (I use 2)

-3 drops of lemon oil (as needed)

-Optional, 1-2 tablespoons of baby wash. (I don’t use it)

What to do: Mix your ingredients. The warm water should melt your coconut oil if it isn’t already. Pour it into your air tight container and put in your Bounty roll, flipping it over after 5 minutes. Pull out the center cardboard piece.

Q: EWWWW I have mold on my wipes. What happened? A: people have reported mold. Most of these reports are for a couple of reasons. One, the wipes sat for a long period of time. Two, you live in a high humidity state. Three, you stored them in your bathroom.  To solve this it’s very simple, add lemon oil or lavender oil even baking soda. A couple of drops will keep the mold away. Making a smaller batch helps if you are not a daily make up wearer. Lastly keeping things like make up, vitamins, and medications in your bathroom is actually not good for products because of the build up of humidity. I do it anyways, but I’m just putting that out there.

Q: Will this wash my face too? A: No; it is designed to take off your make up not to wash your face and clean out oil and dirt from your pores.

Q: Can I use regular body wash instead of baby body wash? A: I don’t recommend using regular body wash simply because it can sting your eyes. Baby body wash is designed not to sting.

DIY Clorox Wipes

Live Renewed

One Good Thing By Jillee

Tips From A Vegan

Crafty When You Can

The Winner? CONFESSION! I haven’t tried any of these, but I think they’re nifty! I always use a spray and a rag. It’s just how I roll, but other’s maybe interested in some of these ideas! 🙂

Well that is it for this section; feel free to comment, tweak, or share more ideas!

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Do it yourself – Laundry Detergent

I have tried a couple of “detergents” for laundry and I have to say I’m pretty impressed by the results. I have pulled myself away from the Gain and into another DIY homemade product that will forever be a staple in my house!

There are a ton of different yet similar recipes out there. What I have learned about this is the recipes effectiveness can rely on several different factors. For example;

  • Do you have city/town water or well water?
  • How HARD or SOFT your water is.
  • How much chlorine content is in your water.
  • Whether or not you have a top loader washing machine or front loader.
  • Whether your washing machine is a high efficient (newer models are) or something a little more old school.
  • It also depends on what items you are washing.

I recommend doing a few testers before sticking to a recipe for laundry soap that works the best for you. Listed below are a few blogs with recipes that I have tried.

Cherished Bliss

One Good Thing By Jillee

Frugally Sustainable

Crunchy Betty

One Good Thing By Jillee (revisited laundry soap)

AND THE WINNER IS?!

ANDREA with Frugally Sustainable! This is her second win for me. I love it for its versatility too!

-1 bar grated castile soap (vegetable fat based soap)
-1 1/2 cup baking soda
-1 cup super washing soda
-1 cup borax
-Optional: your favorite good smelly scent. I went with Lemon Essential Oil (20 drops)

– 2 Gallons of distilled water

Directions: To the stove!! Use a large pot and pour about one quart of your distilled water and begin heating it up on about medium heat. Once the water is heated but not boiling; add your grated soap slowly stirring as it melts. After all the grated soap is added and mostly melted you can begin to add the other ingredients (minus the scented oils or essential oil). Keep stirring to help everything process and dissolve.  Once it has dissolved all the way pour the your concoction into a bucket (I used a kitty litter bucket) and add the rest of your distilled water. At this point you should add your preferred oils and scents then stir everything again. Now put it away for 24 hours and let it all gel together.

I use about 1/2 cup per load. I add white VINEGAR to my white loads in the softener compartment to act as a whitening agent instead of bleach.

That is it! It’s SOOOO simple and it doesn’t cost a fortune. You’re also left with more product to make more. This batch has lasted me for MONTHS so far. It works great imo.

NOW to the FAQs! Let’s clear up some questions you might all have.

Q: Can I use liquid castile soap instead of grating a bar? A: Absolutely, the recipe would need to be adjusted to fit. Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap is VERY popular to use in general. Here is the change-up. 

You Need:

ONE cup of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap.

1/2 cup of baking soda

1/2 cup washing soda

1/4 cup of coarse salt (IE: Sea Salt)

TWO cups of warm distilled water.

OPTIONAL: Scented or Essential Oil (10 drops)

Direction: This makes for a gallon so grab a sturdy jug and pour/funnel the mixed ingredients then add more distilled water to fill up the jug. Shake it up and let it sit. Use about 1/4 cup for a full load.

Q: Why don’t you use the above recipe instead it seems easier? A: I feel like the bar soap versions work better.

Q: Instead of doing gel/liquid detergent can I do powdered  A: Yes you can. I like the liquid because you can run it in cold water w/o dissolving issues. The powdered version you always need to use warm/hot water to make sure it dissolves correctly. It’s merely preference.

Q: I tried the recipe(s) and they didn’t gel, it’s just runny liquid. A: As with the dish soap sometimes you do get batches that just do not seem to congeal correctly. No Harm; it still works just as well. I have had this happen and I just stirred my liquid up and used it all the same. It works just as well.

Q: This detergent has zero suds, what is wrong with it? A: This is a low-suds recipe and works for high-inefficiency washers. Suds is merely a side effect of sulfates it does not mean it is cleaning.

Q: Why doesn’t my laundry smell as it would with store-bought detergents. A: There are a lot of extra chemicals companies put in their stuff to keep that “fresh” clean scent in the laundry. You could add the softener scented crystals that have come out, but again you could save your money and try this Jillee’s version of making your own fabric softener and good smelling stuff it’s genius!

Q: What are these “Ingredients”? What do they do? How do they work? And where can I find them? A: I personally has NO idea was Borax was until I started doing this stuff so investigated and now I’m sharing my results with you all. 

20 Mule Team BORAX: What is it? It’s a water softener. It helps break down hard water. It is often labeled as a laundry booster. It is also a naturally occurring product. It’s technical name is  sodium tetraborate. It’s a mineral and salt based powder.  Is it Toxic? Not Really BUT it can irritate the skin and not to be ingested just like baking soda. If you’d like to know more. Crunchy Betty did a lovely write-up about the Borax.

Super Washing Soda: Not to be confused with Baking Soda. Arm and Hammer makes it. It’s Sodium Carbonate (baking soda’s big brother) and it is also considered another detergent booster and helps break down hard water. 

Baking Soda: Is Sodium bicarbonate and has been a useful cleaning and cooking agent for years.

Fels Napatha:  Although I do not mention this in my recipe it deserves an honorable mention because a lot of people use this as their “castile bar soap”. I also see Kirk’s castile soap running around too.

Where can I find this stuff? I found all of the above items at Wal-Mart put together on one shelf. Including an extra-large box of Baking Soda; it all cost me about $10 and have several uses. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap I find at Target along with Kirk’s soap. I find that Target has a larger collection of natural items including castile bars of soap. 

Easy Peasy! Please list anymore questions you may have and I will get add them to my FAQ section. Happy Experimenting!

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Do It Yourself – DISH SOAP

There are a TON of recipes for making your own dish soap. The recipe I am posting today is my favorite thus far!It is easy, cost effective, and the best of all, IT WORKS!I snatched this golden find from one of favorite bloggers found here http://www.frugallysustainable.com

What do you need?

– 1 & 1/2 cup of VERY hot water

-1 tablespoon shredded bar soap (castile bar soap, ivory, or a homemade simple soap)
-1 tablespoon white vinegar
-1 tablespoon Super Washing Soda
-1/8 teaspoon tea tree oil (optional)

 My Personal Tweaks – 2 TBS of white vinegar & 1/8 lemon oil or lavender oil

Directions: Combine all you ingredients into a bowl and lightly mix; then add your hot water and stir the mixture until everything molded together and the soap has melted. The texture should be thickening a by now.

Let everything cool down and sit on a flat surface for about 4-8 hours and stir the mixture from time to time. (Letting it sit over night is fine)

Funnel the dish soap into a soap container (I use an old plastic bottle of Dawn)

Here is Andrea’s Video she made for making the soap.

MUST READ FAQ and NOTES

 Q: What is castile soap? A: Castile soap is simply vegetable fat based soap. Olive oil soap, coconut oil soap anything like that is considered castile.

Q: What is Super Washing Soda? A: This is Baking Soda’s big bad brother. It is NOT the same as baking soda however. It comes in a big yellow box and it is done by Arm and Hammer.

Q: What is Tea Tree Oil, Lemon Oil, or Lavender Oil? A: These are essential oils. You can find them on the internet or at your health stores.

Q: I tried your experiment and the soap does not suds up. Did I do something wrong? A: NOPE it’s fine. Suds in dish soap as actually a side effect from the sulfate used in it. Seeing the suds does not mean it is cleaning. This does not suds up and it takes some getting used to, but it does work!

Q: This seems really runny. Did I do something wrong? A: Again, no. The dish soap is not as thick as dish soap. Some batches just come out extremely watery for some reason, but the product is still good. The cleaning power is still there. I’ve had a batch come out just being liquidy but it did the work all the same.

Q: What about this recipe makes it work. How do we know something is clean let alone disinfected? A: I asked this too! Vinegar is a natural cleaner and grease cutter. Smells horrible but it gets a job done! It’s also anti-bacterial. Tea Tree Oil plus other essential oils are also anti-bacterial fighting agents.

Testimonial

I have been using this for 6 or 7 months now and I have never ever looked at another bottle of dish soap ever again. Steven who is my super pessimistic tester praises this household item.

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